What things are most important to you in choosing a home?
Questions asked and answered for my daughters
This is a good question… what’s important in making a home versus place to live? Right now, we’re very fortunate to live in a place that is home, and it fits everything we looked for in making it that way. We also learned what makes a place not feel like home to us.
Every family has a different style and interests, and I’m going to stay away from the clichés of “home is where the heart is” and “as long as we’re together, we’re home” type of sentiments and focus on the place.
So, here’s my list of 7 things that are important, in no particular order:
1) Space to move and play outside
We’re not city-folk at heart, and moving to a place that gave us a yard and a place for the dogs to run around was important. Having enough land for kids to play is a big plus but so was having mature trees. When being home feels like you’re camping on vacation, it’s perfect.
2) Windows and natural light
We’ve lived in houses with narrow windows or apartments with little to no view, so having floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of them throughout the house was important. Let the sun in, see the outside… don’t live in a dungeon.
3) Freedom to move indoors and create functional space
Our style is to enjoy an open floor plan and functionally use all the space we have in the house. In our current house, there are no hallways… a big open great room exists where rooms branch off of the first and second floors. The kitchen, dining room, and living room are all one giant room — also makes natural light coming in spread easy.
In our first house, we had less square footage but didn’t use an entire floor; whereas now, we have more square footage and use every bit of it! That sounds odd, but having a space be usable is important; otherwise, you’re paying for nothing.
4) Price and value or most for your buck
Knowing what you value will determine where you will find a place to live. For us, this meant we moved out closer to where we grew up, because the house/land you got for the price was much better than anywhere else. Sure, we have to make some compromises, like a longer commute to work, but the balance of price for what you get is worth it.
5) Place to create and personalize
This is where I didn’t like living in apartments and much prefer living in a place that I own. It was annoying not being able to paint the walls, hang things up, upgrade appliances, etc. (not that I could afford any of that at the time), but I knew that I wanted a place that I could do what I wanted to it. It also worked out that our first home was a good “starter” home, so I could experiment with fixing things before I got to our current one!
6) Distance from neighbors and city rules
While there are zoning rules and other guidelines that must be followed everywhere, the further you get from a city, the more freedom you have to live in your home as you please. I really didn’t like having nosy neighbors watch our every move in a suburb, having sidewalks that are a liability waiting to happen, and people telling me what plants and trees I am allowed to have in MY yard.
When choosing a good home, make sure you understand what “governing” bodies oversee your land and avoid the overly nosy ones who think they own your property.
7) Ease and distance of travel to and from work
As mentioned previously, how far away a home is away from your place of employment is important, and in many cases, it could be the most important. At the time we purchased our current home, the house was right in the middle of commutes, because we each drove in opposite directions. Now, we use our “home base” as a guide for what jobs we take next, because we have grown to love where we live.
Like I mentioned, every person and family values different things and places importance values in different ways. It will take a few places of living to understand what works for you, and even then, it will change over time.
This place where you grow up defines you more than you think.